Monday, January 7, 2019

At The End Of The Day, It All Boils Down To Maintaining Balance.

A friend of mine is a really great baker. Her specialty are pies. This woman can bake you a pie that will send your eyeballs rolling to the back of your head and probably needing a cold shower afterward. Her pies are that great.

Between the week of Christmas and New Year's Day, she reached out to me. Periodically throughout the year, especially around the big holidays, we compare notes about what we baked and new items that we decided to whip up.

This year was a bit different. When she reached out, she was a bit exasperated. It transpired into more of a vent session than anything.

"I love making pies. My great-grandmother was the first to teach me how to make them. Then, my grandmother took over. In my world, pies hold a lot of sentimental value. I bake them for every holiday. In my family, most everyone wants pies for their birthday instead of cake or cupcakes. I love baking pies for these occasions. It's my passion. 

Over the past few years, I've baked pies for a few bake sales and various organizations that have held charity dinners. I was honored to bake pies for these events. 

However, last year, things got out of control. I feel bad admitting that, but holy shit. I had everyone approaching me and emailing me and sending me messages on Facebook about upcoming events. At one point, several people requested that I order the plastic containers to sell individual pie slices at their bake sales.

I couldn't keep up. I was baking pies left and right all the time, every week. Then, on top of that, the people who needed the pies expected me to deliver them. 

I've got 3 kids who are actively involved in sports and other school activities. My husband works long hours because we never wanted to rely on daycare or fork out for those expenses. We live on a strict budget. I work 2 days a week just to get out of the house and assist with expenses so we have that extra income every month.

Last October, I'm fairly certain that I hit my breaking point. I was baking pies when my husband got home from work at midnight. He knew I was stressed. He poured me a glass of wine and we sat and talked for almost two hours. 

After that, we made some changes. I didn't want to enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas season not wanting to make pies. 

He suggested I make a list of the upcoming holidays and birthdays and the pies I would be making for those occasions. Then, he suggested I choose 3 organizations to donate to. That was easy. I chose the organizations that meant a lot to me. It certainly wasn't the organizations who suggested I order the pricey individual pie slice containers or expect me to spend hours delivering. 

The hard part was saying no to the rest. I didn't even know most of the people I was emailing, but it was still hard. I hate saying no. But, I had to do what was in the best interest of our family. Ingredients and supplies are expensive. I don't have a lot of free time. My kids need me. My husband isn't available because he's working hard for our family."

The first sentence of my reply email was, "I totally understand..."  My friend knows that I genuinely understand. We've been friends for a long time. When Bodacious Biscuit Love was in full swing, she heard quite a few of my rants.

She was also well aware of why we did not renew our license for Bodacious Biscuit Love in 2018 after four years of running and why this past Christmas was the first of not baking Holiday Bodacious Biscuit Love.

In a very tiny nutshell, our family got bigger. Lisa got a rather substantial promotion in the Spring of 2017 that included her hours changing a bit. I altered not only my work schedule, but my sleeping schedule as well.

We were no longer able to do events on the weekends. Lisa wasn't able to deliver Bodacious Biscuit Love and Bodacious Raffle Baskets and restock our displays after work. Etc.

After many discussions, we realized we needed to make a lot of changes. We did. Some people didn't like that too much, but...

In the here and now, even though we're not providing Bodacious Biscuit Love, we're still doing great things. We're Dog Moms to 4 rescue pups and 1 rescue Guinea pig. We donate items to our local animal shelters. We make Bodacious Care Packages for pet parents in need. We spread random acts of kindness throughout the week.

Over the Christmas Season, we assisted quite a few families and delivered lots of Holiday Love and Cheer despite a few challenges on our end such as my Work at Home Dog Mom bonus being cut in half and having to buy a new washing machine the week before Thanksgiving. To compensate for that, we used the money we made from our Bodacious Holiday DIY Dog Mom Projects to purchase items and pay for shipping.

Instead of baking Christmas cookies and confections only once during the month of December, I baked 5 times. We made cookie platters and cookie buckets for our neighbor friends and beyond, our local Police Department, our local Fire Department, and to those who needed a lil' sweet love.

I'm not mentioning any of this for compliments or a pat on the back. 

My intent is to emphasize that it's okay to make changes. It's okay to do things differently. It's okay to not bite off more than you can chew. It's okay to do what you can within your means. And, that certainly is enough.

There is nothing wrong with revolving the great stuff you do for others around your family and schedule.

Sure, like my friend, Lisa and I made changes, especially the big change of not renewing our Bodacious Biscuit Love license, but in doing that, we've been able to do other great stuff.

All that we do and all that we did for people in December, it makes a difference. In December, I received quite a few messages from the recipients that got me a bit choked up.

What it all boils down to at the end of the day is maintaining balance.

This is one of the changes we're making in 2019.

We're going to continue to do great stuff. But, we're also going to focus on maintaining balance within our home and family.

Maintaining balance is essential.

It took us many years to learn that.

Everyone's balance is different.

Remember that...

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